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House, Senate at odds over vets' disability pay ^ | 19 October 2002 | Tom Philpott

Posted on 10/27/2002 6:05:55 AM PST by matrix

Encouraged by the White House and using a political strategy devised by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee have refused to negotiate with Senate colleagues over the contentious issue of allowing disabled veterans to also collect retirement pay.

The impasse will last at least a week or two beyond Nov. 5, Election Day, and possibly until next year, keeping many retirees with disabilities in the dark over the size of future retirement checks.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: disabledvets; va

1 posted on 10/27/2002 6:05:55 AM PST by matrix
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To: Militiaman7
2 posted on 10/27/2002 6:08:44 AM PST by matrix
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To: matrix
Another "Gee Thanks" from our grateful public! Imagine my surprise at the conclusion of 28 years of strenuous service and one really good bullet wound, my grateful government removed part of my retirement pay because the VA doctors said that I had some permanent disability (it wasn't any surprise to me).

To add to the fun, Congress made sure that what was left of my retirement went swiftly to my ex-wife. Priorities, I guess.

If the President we worked for so hard during his election goes against us veterans, just watch how fast we'll find somebody else. Preferably somebody that actually faced an enemy for his country.

3 posted on 10/27/2002 7:34:36 AM PST by USMCVet
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The practice is dicriminatory, Brother...openly, blatantly, disgustingly a slap in theface of the cereer veteran.

Yeah...we get that great "discount shopping", eh? The OX/BX is full of Waterford and Oneida...but ever try to find a simple glass tumbler? Ditto clothes...500 dollar suits and 60 dollar woeking stiff clothes there.

Then there is the commissary...super deals there, eh? After the surcharge and the obligatroy baggers tips...well, I stopped going there years ago when the meat and roduce became "commercial grade".

Free health care? NOPE! For those who may not understand this...our health care is "space available"...and there is no spce, we have the VA? Another nightmare! Six months for an appointment?

The concurrent issue is simple...think of it as your boss awarding your a bonus for service, then taking it all back and it's the same deal.

Retired military disabled are the ONLY folks who undure this practice. It is a shameful statement.

We need to bombard Bush and congress with mail and visits...trouble is, veterans, by and large, take it lying down...that has to stop!
4 posted on 10/27/2002 8:42:35 AM PST by NMFXSTC
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Where do you live that it takes 6 months to get an appointment at the VA?

I have not used the VA but I know people that have no problem getting appointments.

I was not a career man. I just find your post to be disturbing. Career veterans should be better treated. It is a serious indictment on our Country if these things are all valid.

Thank you for your service!
5 posted on 10/27/2002 10:38:14 AM PST by Radix
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To: Radix
It really depends upon the facility and the personnel...I am n New Mexcio...a Regional VAMC...saw a doc n ER, got an urgent referral to a specialty clinic (that clinic called me two weeks later and schedule me for two weeks from then...the call).

Some areas are great...others, dismal. The problem here is that it is so hodge-podge and chatoic...
6 posted on 10/27/2002 10:16:08 PM PST by NMFXSTC
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To: matrix
I would like to see disabled veterans be treated as the heroes that they are. It seems odd to me that they would even be required to pay taxes. Haven't they paid enough?
7 posted on 10/27/2002 10:20:42 PM PST by mysterio
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To: mysterio
What frosts me is that Dubya campainged on aHelp the military, vets, and retirees" platform. Now, he has forgotten and threatens th veto the Defense Authorization Bill that wiuld fix the concurrent receipt promlen. I'll quote from an editorial from Colonel North about this:


Oliver North July 26, 2002

It's about keeping promises

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- It's been a lousy summer for President George W. Bush. Republican leaders are grousing that he isn't doing enough to keep GOP control of the House. Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld has his arm in a cast, and the Pentagon press corps is beating him up because we can't find Osama's body. Diplomatic correspondents are howling that the president isn't tough enough on Israel. The business press blames him for the stock market collapse and for being soft on corporate crooks. And now the gossip columnists are piling on over the length of his vacation. No wonder the man wants to spend a month in Crawford. But while he's at the ranch, he had better phone Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mitch Daniels or it could get even worse. If he doesn't, some of his most fervent supporters will start re-thinking their loyalty.

Who are they? America's soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, veterans and military retirees. The troops' lament: broken promises.

Here's the problem. When he was campaigning for commander in chief, Bush habitually said things like: "To the veteran, we owe gratitude -- shown not just in words of tribute, but in acts of care and attention. ... As president, I will work with Congress to raise the standard of service -- not just for veterans, but for our military retirees. All of them must be treated with the care they have been promised and the dignity they have earned."

Gov. Bush spoke those words to the American Legion in Milwaukee, Wisc., on Sept. 6, 2000, and replicated them throughout his campaign. America's military and veteran families -- more than 26 million of them -- heard and believed. And overwhelmingly, they voted for him -- as was evident after dimpled chads and absentee ballots became big issues in Florida. Many military and veteran families believe that if it weren't for them, George W. Bush wouldn't be president. And they may be right.

To his credit, Bush continued his courtship of veterans after his inaugural. At a Memorial Day breakfast in the East Room on May 28, 2001, he said: "America's veterans ask only that government honor its commitments as they honored theirs. They ask that their interests be protected, as they protected their country's interest in foreign lands. In all matters of concern to veterans -- from health care to program funding -- you have my pledge that those commitments will be kept. My administration will do all it can to assist our veterans and to correct oversights of the past." Great stuff. Too bad that this week the Bush administration's budget boss, OMB Director Mitch Daniels, made all those promises appear hollow.

The issue, like so much else in the federal government, is a little-known inequity with an arcane moniker: "concurrent receipt," a provision of law that prohibits retired military veterans from drawing full retirement checks if they also receive a disability payment. What it means is that those who suffer a disabling wound defending our country will be financially punished if they somehow manage to stay in the armed forces long enough to retire. Sound nuts? It is.

In the interest of full disclosure, let me make this personal. During my 22 years in the Marines, I wasn't always quick or agile enough to get out of the way when our nation's enemies were doing bad things. My fellow Marines pinned a couple of purple hearts on my uniform to remind others of my clumsiness.

When I got around to retiring in 1988, a Navy doctor wrote up a long report describing various wounds and injuries. The Department of Veteran's Affairs took the doctor's evaluation and decided that the damage was worth about $450 per month. What I didn't understand at the time was the ingenious way our government had of paying me roughly $5,400 per year. It comes out of my own pocket. Every month, my retirement check is reduced by precisely the amount of my disability payment. And that's exactly how it's done for roughly 550,000 other disabled, retired veterans.

No one would dare to reduce retirement benefits for postal workers with hernias from hoisting mailbags. Nor would anyone in Congress have the temerity to suggest that Civil Service employees forfeit a portion of their retirement checks to pay for on-the-job injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. Only those who do the dirty and dangerous work of defending this nation suffer this indignity -- the very ones who believed the president's promise that, "My administration understands America's obligations not only to those who wear the uniform today, but to those who wore the uniform in the past -- our veterans."

Unfortunately, the deficit hawks in Bush's Office of Management and Budget are now ignoring this "obligation" (his word, not mine) because fixing the problem is too expensive. The Congressional Budget Office estimates it would cost approximately $2 billion in fiscal year 2003. Of course, bloated deficits haven't stopped Congress from padding its own payrolls or stuffing 8,341 pork-barrel projects, estimated by Citizens Against Government Waste at $20 billion, in this year's 13 appropriations bills.

What's worse, the Rumsfeld Pentagon doesn't seem to grasp that this punitive policy has an unquantifiable adverse effect on retention and combat effectiveness. Do we really want a military force led by risk-averse, desk-bound officers and NCOs who avoid the possibility of getting wounded because they don't want to financially punish their families?

Bush has said, "Veterans are a priority for this administration." He had better make those in his administration believe it because veterans also believe that old axiom, "You can't just talk the talk -- you have to walk the walk."

8 posted on 10/28/2002 4:35:12 AM PST by matrix
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Do you know who is behind the effort to kill concurrent receipt? I'll name a few: Dubya, Hastert, Armey, DeLay, Hunter, Skelton, and others of our pubbie "friends!"
9 posted on 10/28/2002 4:38:56 AM PST by matrix
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To: Militiaman7
10 posted on 10/28/2002 5:03:44 AM PST by matrix
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We are used and forgotten.
11 posted on 10/28/2002 4:23:40 PM PST by matrix
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